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Earlier this week, I happened to pass the corner of 71st and El Cajon right around 11:30, just as I was beginning to think about lunch. I had been to Terra American Bistro once before, for drinks, and I remembered the interior as cozy and the menu as intriguing, so I stopped.

Turns out, almost all their lunch options are in the $10 range. I had my choice of salads, sandwiches, and pastas. I had decided on fish tacos ($9.95) when the server came to my table and mentioned the specials. I don’t remember the first one, but the second, salmon sliders (salmon cakes with wasabi aioli — $11) sounded even better than fish tacos.

The server asked if I wanted fries, salad, or the citrus slaw. When I said salad, he informed me it would be a wedge of iceberg lettuce rather than a plate of greens, so I went with the citrus slaw (with a kaffir lime vinaigrette) instead.

The sliders were full of flavor. I’m pretty sure I moaned out loud (with joy) and rolled my eyes back in my head while I ate them. But they were also tiny — which meant they were gone before I knew it. And, unfortunately, the slaw tasted like soap to me, so even though there was a huge mound of it, I didn’t eat more than a couple of bites.

In the end, I left hungry — a disappointment after spending nearly $20 (including iced tea — $2.75 — plus tax and tip).

Even still, I plan to return one day to see if the anything on the daily lunch menu is as moan-inducing as those salmon sliders.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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